It would perhaps be a reasonable assumption to make that a restaurant called, well, "The Restaurant" might be a rather plain, dull, run-of-the-mill dining spot that doesn't have a whole lot to offer other than the basics. But in the case of a dining spot in Woburn Center with this name, this would be an assumption that wouldn't seem to hold a whole lot of weight. The Restaurant, which resides on Main Street along the northern edge of Woburn's main business district, is indeed anything but boring, as it turns out some truly excellent Greek and American dishes during the day, and actually quite a bit more than that at dinnertime (more on this to come in a bit).
The Restaurant (which is now actually known as "The Restaurant Bar and Grille") is located in a rather cavernous spot that feels like it may have been a warehouse or an auto-repair shop in a previous life. Yet while the high ceilings and echoey acoustics imply that The Restaurant is perhaps not a place to go for a special-occasion dinner, it is not an unattractive spot, either; its dining area was upgraded awhile back (especially at night--again, more on this in a sec), giving it a cozy and comfortable feel, and a bar (called "The Bar") that has been added to the space has almost an upscale look to it. And the food? Well, it is fresh, wholesome, and supremely enjoyable, with the daily specials as well as the everyday entrees being the type of meals that definitely stick to one's bones. The Restaurant is basically a cafeteria by day in which diners grab a tray, order at the counter, then move to the left, picking up their food, drinks, and desserts as they head toward the cash register. And at night, it becomes something completely different, with table service and a menu that leans toward Italian and Mediterranean fare.
The lunch items at The Restaurant are terrific and cheap, such as the Greek salad with a particularly sweet-tasting dressing, the overstuffed turkey club sandwich, the similarly substantial reuben sandwich, the wonderful steak tips (complete with a delicious marinade), the greasy (but not too greasy) steak and cheese sub, the rather messy but marvelous chili burger (the regular burgers are a good choice as well), the stick-to-your ribs half chicken with stuffing, the hearty chicken pot pie, the old-school macaroni and cheese, the enormous plate of spaghetti with house-made meat sauce, the dense, rich chili, and the comforting turkey dinner. A few of the traditional Greek items here are the pastitsio and moussaka, both of which are standouts at this place, along with the stuffed peppers, roasted potatoes, stuffed grape leaves, and the flaky spanakopita (spinach pie). Lasagna is offered as well, with their version being a bit similar to the pastitsio (thanks in part to the nutmeg added). Breakfast is also served at The Restaurant, with all the basics offered here (pancakes, French toast, omelets, etc.), and dinner is, again, a different experience, with such items as (depending on the menu, which has always-changing specials) tuna tartare, freshly-made soft pretzels with honey mustard, pulled pork sliders, a rich-tasting duck confit gnocchi, a meat loaf that is one of the best this writer has had in the Boston area, and an array of cocktails available.
The Restaurant Bar and Grille has quite a following among Woburn locals, but few restaurant critics seem to know about the place. That might just suit the neighborhood folks fine, though, as The Restaurant indeed feels like the kind of secret spot that you feel fortunate to have discovered once you try it. If you like reasonably-priced Greek cuisine by day, inventive Mediterranean dishes by night, and don't enjoy long lines for food, The Restaurant should certainly be on your list of places to try.
Copyright © 2007-2018, Boston's Hidden Restaurants (www.hiddenboston.com).